Merle Dean Andersen

January 2, 1933 ~ February 8, 2018 (age 85)

MERLE DEAN ANDERSEN, age 85, of Worthington, died Thursday, February 8, 2018, at the Good Samaritan Society in Jackson, MN. He was born January 2, 1933, in Spencer, IA, to John and Esther (Larsen) Andersen. He attended and graduated from Lake Center School in Terrill, IA.

Merle married Carol Zielstra on January 21, 1952, in Jackson. The couple lived and farmed near Spencer, IA. In 1961, they moved to Atlantic, IA where Merle owned & operated the Devonshire Truck Stop. After purchasing Red’s Downtown North Star, Merle moved his family to Worthington, MN in 1966, later partnering with his son, Kirby, to run the business. The North Star station became a popular gathering spot, with many former patrons still telling stories.  Merle retired in 1989, but continued to work part-time for Plaza 66 car wash, and other local businesses.

Merle’s oldest grandson, Nathan, came to Minnesota every summer from the age of 3, to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa. Retirement allowed him more time with family, spending countless hours with his grandkids taking them fishing on many area lakes, and camping-even if it was only a weenie roast and overnight at Olson Park-or boat rides on the lake.   Known in the family as “Merle-Gyver”, he could fix anything with duct tape, screws and Shoe Glue and was the master at rigging contraptions and tools to make life work just a little bit better.  Merle had a wonderful sense of humor and his love of practical jokes and pranks is legendary.  Kids and grandkids alike have a story of being surprised by Merle when he would don a gorilla mask and scare the livin’ daylights out of them.   

Merle was a member of American Lutheran Church in Worthington and a former member of Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.

Merle is survived by his wife, Carol, Worthington, MN; five children, Deb Andersen, Worthington; Connie VanKempen, Apple Valley, MN; Kirby (Bev) Andersen, Worthington; Terri (Mike) Uline, Lakeville, MN; and Nikki (Che) Regnier, Northfield, MN; 14 grandchildren, Nathan (Meghan) Andersen, Cary (Matt) Lopez, Allyn Thorpe, Andrew VanKempen, Laura VanKempen, Olivia VanKempen, Kristen Andersen, Bailey Andersen, Kelsey (Isaac) Saville, Austin Uline, Grant Uline, Logan Regnier, Eli Regnier and Griffin Regnier; and three great-grandchildren, Leah Andersen, Grayson Lopez and Everly Lopez.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law, Mike VanKempen; two sisters; Lois Severson and Joyce Peters; infant sister, Shirley, and his faithful hunting dog, Corky.

The family would like to extend a special and heart-felt “Thank You” to the staff of Good Sam in Jackson for the care and love they gave Dad during his time there.  God bless the work you do, we have been touched and comforted by your compassion.

   A time of fellowship will be from 4-7 pm Thursday at the Dingmann Funeral Home in Worthington; and also one hour prior to the service at the funeral home on Friday. A memorial service will be Friday at 11 am at the Dingmann Funeral Home, in Worthington. Burial of cremains will be at a later date.


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